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Food For Thought: Bardi, the best chef!

Joined: 11/27/2014
Posts: 1
Even today almost 4 years after she passed away if you ask anyone in our family who was the best family chef the answer still remains the same - "BARDI". Bardi means Elder sister in Bengali. Although she was my maternal grandmother's elder sister she was universally called as Bardi by everyone.Be it the kids, the grandchildren or the great grand children.
She was a widow at the young age of 25 and lived till the age of 90. Being a widower in India was a very difficult experience. In her era she had to give up eating non vegetarian food (no meat,no fish or chicken). A so called pious life was forced upon her. She also had to follow a restricted vegetarian diet with no garlic and ginger. Strange and cruel, but that is how things were at her age. A widow at 25 with no children she was forced out of her husband's property and would stay with her maternal relatives. Six months at our place, six months at another cousins and so forth.
As kids we were fortunate enough to spend time with her. I was more closer to her that my own grandmother. Why do I write about her in my "food for thought" story. That's because my childhood food memories were built around her.
She was an extraordinary cook who could just weave and magic with any left over food. It could be just the vegetable stalk's we generally throw away. All this with all her food restrictions (no ginger, no garlic etc.). She was the queen of the kitchen. My basic cooking training was with her. After school I spend time helping her out with the vegetable cutting or even learning to make the roti (Indian bread). Even today when I cook a few Indian delicacies my mind goes back to her original recipe.
If anyone ever asked her to cook a particular dish, the same would be ready in a jiffy. Although she was a strict vegetarian she could make the most yummiest, lip smacking non-veg delicacies. Be it the Fish Kofta (fish meatballs in curry) or chicken curry. Often my uncles would crack a joke saying that " How can you possibly make such delicacies without tasting ? You definitely must have tasted a spoonful".
Her stays with us lasted 6 months to a year after she went over to another relatives. I remember myself and my sister writing these tearful letters to her begging her to come back because mother was starving us to death with her bad cooking.
I last saw her at my wedding 4 years back. She was bent with age but had the same beautiful blue eyes. Within a month she passed away in her sleep. She will always stay in our hearts.
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